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Fort Myers council members weigh in on mask requirements

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 19:16:25-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Florida, some local leaders continue to push for mask mandates.

City Councilman Johnny Streets has been calling for the city of Fort Myers to discuss a possible mask mandate, and now an emergency meeting is being set up.

On Monday, City Councilman Streets told Fox 4 council members are being polled for an emergency meeting to take place this week.

But there are mixed feelings among Fort Myers City Council members on whether or not people should be required to wear face masks while in public.

“I’m in favor of it, I’ve had people that I know and love that have passed away from COVID,” said City Councilwoman Teresa Watkins-Brown.

Councilwoman Watkins-Brown says it’s time the City of Fort Myers takes action and mandates the use of masks.

“I think we need to step up to the plate and say ‘citizens of Fort Myers we love you, and we’re going to make sure you’re safe, wear your mask when you’re out in public,’” said Councilwoman Watkins-Brown.

But not everyone on the Fort Myers City Council agrees.

“This is a country that was built on freedoms and liberties, and it seems like that goes against that premise,” said City Councilman Kevin Anderson.

Councilman Anderson questions how the mandate would be enforced.

Anderson himself overcame COVID-19 after testing positive in late March.

“What do you do if someone absolutely refuses to wear a mask? We can’t legislate our way out of every problem,” said Councilman Anderson.

Councilman Anderson says it should come down to personal responsibility.

“Do the right thing, if you’re going to be in an area where you’re in close proximity to other people, wear the mask,” said Councilman Anderson.

But Councilwoman Watkins-Brown worries encouraging people to wear masks is not enough.

“I think it’s important enough, and that people need to understand that it’s about their welfare,” said Councilwoman Watkins-Brown.

Both Councilwoman Watkins-Brown and Councilman Anderson agree this is a critical discussion that needs to be addressed.